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Ross-shire trailblazer Prickly Thistle turns Black Friday green by pulling plug on online shop for the day

By Hector MacKenzie

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A BLACK Isle businesswoman is turning Black Friday green by pulling the plug on her online shop for 24 hours instead of trying to cash in.

Clare Campbell of Prickly Thistle, who run the only tartan weaving mill in the Highlands, is encouraging shoppers to support sustainability and avoid exploiting the environment.

She said: "It is that time of year where we see people crazed with the prospect of an unmissable ‘deal’ or offers they simply cannot seem to turn down. They’re motivated by price and often forget to ask themselves, do I really need this and what am I actually funding when I add it to my basket? Let’s be frank here, there’s no way these products can be made and sold at such staggeringly cheap prices without the question of ethics”.

She said: "We have chosen, with purpose, not to mass produce with modern high-speed machines. We want people to buy less and love more. At Prickly Thistle, our ancient looms remind us to be patient and appreciate the form of lifetime fabric. They also need people with passion to operate and care for them and the fabric they produce. This creates employment, plays its part in combating poverty and unconscious consumerism. We create less items with skilled jobs so people can remember to love more and appreciate how things are made. We all have the power to change our way of thinking and inspire others to stop and think too.

“Green Friday, is a day when we can all say we champion a more sustainable way of life. We can look to those smaller brands who don't have large marketing budgets with 'clever sponsored ads' and don't squeeze suppliers for rock bottom prices because they buy in bulk. It is the smaller brands that often have more integrity and transparency about what they do and how they do it. Join us, take time to think and buy nothing!”.

Climate change and environmental campaigners say Black Friday contributes to excessive purchasing of unnecessary items. Environmental think tank Green Alliance estimates that up to 80 per cent of items bought over the Black Friday weekend, and any packaging they are wrapped in, will end up either in landfill, incinerated or, at best, low quality recycling after an often very short life.

The Prickly Thistle team embody the ethos of paying it forward and most recently donated a percentage of sales to UNICEF in support of World Children’s Day 2020 and teamed up with the National Trust for Scotland, to create two limited edition tartans that represent the charity’s importance in protecting Scotland’s heritage, with all profits going to its SOS Appeal.

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